Viridian chief executive Matthew Fox explains why his organisation is taking the leap to become more transparent
From April this year, Viridian has decided to publish: employee salaries over £50,000 and all expenses over £500; an organisational chart of the whole of Viridian showing all vacant posts and the salaries of those posts; and the ‘pay multiple’ being the ratio between the highest salary and the median salary of all of Viridian’s workforce
In addition we will be publishing much more information on board meetings and on the key documents in our organisation (such as tenancy agreements, policies and asset registers). The figures will be published on our website from 1 April this year and will be routinely updated, allowing anyone to access them when they want to.
We want to get ahead of this issue rather than being forced into the corner of defending what can appear a somewhat old-fashioned need for secrecy.
We need to meet the changing expectations of our residents and society about transparency. The old boundaries of privacy are breaking down. If we want to have an intelligent conversation with all our stakeholders about value for money, we need to provide more information to enable them to make judgements about value for money.
Around 80 per cent of our income is from residents’ rent and other charges, so we owe it to them to be clear about how their money is used and allow them the opportunity to give us feedback.
This is not about a different standard for semi-public services from private services. We think that consumers of all products, whether public or private, will increasingly expect such openness. We want to get ahead of this issue rather than being forced into the corner of defending what can appear a somewhat old-fashioned need for secrecy.
We recognise that this is just the first of many steps not the final one. We will talk to residents about what other information they would like to see and will aim to publish that over time. We also intend to find ways of making all the information we provide more meaningful. We know that a long list of items of expenditure may not explain much. So over time we will aim to provide an analysis of the information and hints and tips to enable readers to extract as much as possible from it.
If there is anything that any reader of this would like us to publish, do let us know. I cannot promise that we can publish everything, but we will certainly consider any suggestion very seriously and our default will be to publish rather than not.